Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


An early memory: It's a sunny afternoon and we're out in the garden. I'm suddenly overcome by the glory of it all. I rush indoors and bounce up and down on my bed for ten minutes telling God how wonderful he is.

Religion was taken for granted in my family. My mother bought me religious books off a door-to-door sales-woman. Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories featured kiddies who pleased God. A bullied child is told by its daddy that it must disarm the bullies by "burning them up with the love of Jesus." Child comes home. "What did you do in school today, darling?" "I burned up Bertie Briggs."
Initial alarm is followed by rejoicing. These stories bit deep.

As did the pamphlets from the Jehovah's Witnesses with their line drawings of Paradise and the Last Judgement.

I grew up knowing that I wanted to lead a "good" life.

Also that I needed to understand my life. Those Jehovah's Witness pamphlets not only scared me rigid, they "explained" Gods's hidden purposes for the world.

My calling to the ministry wasn't dramatic. I was 19-20 and holidaying on the Island of Jersey. I went to church. I don't know quite what happened- all I remember is that a girl in a pew in front of me kept turning round to stare- but by the time I left the building I knew I wanted to be a priest.

Had to be a priest. It was the only possible course.

Fifteen years later I slid out of Christianity. There were all sorts of reasons, among them a need to explore further.

I spent five years looking around. My Pagan vocation was a undramatic as my Christian vocation. I went into a bookshop, picked up a book on Goddess worship and came away knowing I'd found my new path.

I was a Christian priest for ten years and a Wiccan priest for another ten. I used to stress the disjuncture but really it's all one continuous story. Once a priest, always a priest.

And now.......
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